And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. [Luke 2:21]
Sated by fine holiday feasting, and full of good will the heart often turns at this time of year to feelings of peace on earth. This year will be the year we finally solidify that elusive peace process in the middle east. This year the global community will finally make meaningful strides against violent extremism. This year I will finally get past my history with that particular person and heal that long broken relationship.
But it never seems to happen … That much sought after peace seems to flee ever farther away with each passing year. There is little or no peace to be seen, but bloodshed is everywhere.
The calendar year begins with bloodshed for us Christians too. Perhaps only a little blood, but a significant shedding of it none-the-less.
January 1st – eight days after His birth – Jesus is named and circumcised. He bears the name Jesus, as the angel insisted, because He will save His people from their sins. And how will He do that? Through the shedding of His own blood.
And while the circumcision itself may seem like such an inconsequential (never to the baby boy – you can be sure!) spilling of Jesus’ blood it is the first blood He will spill of so much more to come. This little bit of blood marks His resolution to stand fully in our place and be counted among us … no matter what the cost!
It is His first infant steps toward fulfilling all of the law on our behalf. A journey from blood to blood. A journey that will lead us through the seasons of this coming year all the way to the cross and beyond.
For where there will be peace first there must be blood. His holy, innocent blood. Blood that is willingly shed for those of us who cannot find peace on our own. For only His resolve for peace is strong enough to see it finally fulfilled.
May God grant you Christ’s peace in this coming year!